A residential area 'in line of fire'

Firing ranges, an integral part of the armed forces’ training module, are essential to create forces that can protect the nation.

The defence firing range which is close to a residential area, in Bangalore. (Inset) Bullets recovered from a house. DH Photo / Satish Badiger

In Bangalore’s Bangaragiri Nagar layout, at an arm’s distance of the Parachute Regiment Training Centre firing range, the situation is different.

Residents of the layout have been living with the several inconveniences that result from active firing practice at the ranges.

From bullets straying into their properties to the firing noise during nights, living around the range has become a problem to the residents, who, however, do not want to reveal their identities.

“My mother is a heart patient. There are several children living in our layout and we keep hearing continuous sounds of bullets being fired in the night,” one of the residents, whose house is less that 50 meters from the retaining wall of the range, said.

When Deccan Herald visited the spot, residents showed several bullet shells which they claim had strayed during one of the routine practices carried out by the Parachute Regiment. Another resident, a 58-year-old woman, said: “It becomes difficult to sleep.

Not everybody can handle the situation the same way. Both my husband and I are old and it gets very difficult in the nights when they are firing. Because of the noise, even the dogs begin howling in fear.”

The residents said that they have made several representations to the regiment. “...But they are unwilling to change the location of the range despite having such a huge facility,” one of the residents, who is constructing a house in the layout said.

Another resident said that there is another firing range within the facility that is far away from the residential area but the regiment continues to train here. Sources in the army said that the second range is meant for a specific purpose and that it cannot be used for regular training.

When the issue was brought to the notice of the official spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence in Bangalore, M S Patil, he said: “I will speak with the officers concerned and find out the details.

Vital centre

“The firing range is an authorised one which is planned and constructed as part of the facility. The para training centre is one of the most important and specialised centres that require night firing practice,” a colonel-rank officer in charge of training at the Karnataka and Kerala sub area said.

Having acknowledged the issue of straying bullets, which can be dangerous, the Parachute Regiment had raised the height of the existing retaining wall by a foot. “And recently, it has been increased by another six feet and the wall is now over 30-foot tall,” a source said.

While the residents agree that increasing the height of the wall had reduced the straying bullets, they still found it difficult to live when firing took place in the night.

“Also, we have been told not to construct houses with more than one floor as we are close to the army facility,” another resident said.

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